City introduces pension ordinances for police and firefighters
City Council on Wednesday introduced ordinances that may eventually codify pension changes that apply to officers hired after Jan. 1, as incorporated in recent contracts signed by police and firefighters.
The changes generally reflect instructions in the city’s Act 47 distress recovery plan.
Police officers hired after the beginning of this year won’t get a service increment, according to the ordinance document included in the meeting packet.
Added to officers’ base pensions, the service increment equals the number of years worked after the 20 years that qualify an officer for pension benefits times 1/40th of the base pension benefit – with a maximum increment of $100 a month.
The base pension equals half the average of an officer’s five highest-paid years.
Current officers can continue to receive service increments of $100 a month, in keeping with the old ordinance.
The most recent collective bargaining agreement eliminated service increments of up to $500 a month, as required by the Act 47 plan.
In keeping with the Act 47 plan, the most recent collective bargaining agreement required that officers be at least 50 years old to qualify for a pension, as required by the old ordinance.
In spite of that ordinance requirement, the city previously allowed officers to retire after 20 years, regardless of age.
Officers hired after the beginning of this year won’t get credit for overtime earnings in the calculation of their base pensions. Officers hired previously will get credit for overtime up to $1,200 a year, in keeping with the old ordinance. The most recent collective bargaining agreement, however, eliminated credit for up to $7,500 a year in overtime in the calculation of base pensions, a change required by the Act 47 plan.
Officers hired after the beginning of this year won’t receive cost of living adjustments in their pensions, credit for prior military service toward their pensions or partial pensions for disability not related to their duties.
Firefighters hired after the beginning of this year must serve 20 years continuously and be 50 years old to retire with a pension. The city continues to provide full benefits after 20 years, regardless of age, based on the most recent contract, according to City Council member Mike Haire.
That contradicts the old ordinance, which requires 25 years and age 55 for full benefits, according to the Act 47 plan.
Base pensions for firefighters hired after the beginning of this year will be half the monthly base wage at retirement. Base pensions for previously hired firefighters are half the base wage at retirement or half the average for any five years, whichever is higher.
Firefighters hired after the beginning of this year can receive a $500 service increment if they qualify for it, provided they also pay $5 a month, according to Haire. Firefighters hired previously can continue to receive an extra $100 a month in supplemental pay, according to the recent contract.
By a previous ordinance, members can receive no more than $100 in service increments, and the $100-a-month supplement is prohibited by Third Class City Code, according to the Act 47 plan.
Mirror Staff Writer William Kibler is at 949-7038.